Choral reading, a well-documented fluency enhancer (Bennett, 2006; Bloodstein & Ratner, 2008; Ham, 1986; Manning, 2000), is "sometimes used in stuttering therapy" (Nicolosi, Harryman, & Kresheck, 1996). Although Conture (2001) warns, "it should be noted that giving early, concrete examples to an adult who stutters that change is possible in his or her speech is not without its problems, and these need to be discussed," but that "choral reading...can be used to show that: (1) the adult client's speech disfluency is malleable, it's not a fixed, never-changing property etched in stone for all time; (2) that speech fluency, given certain circumstances is obtainable..." (p. 293). It is reported by Reading Rockets that choral reading also "helps build students'...self-confidence, and motivation," a potential additional benefit for clients who stutter.
The Internet provides an opportunity for clients to practice choral reading in the clinic or at home, using online audio and text.
When a client who stutters has become adept with choral reading online speeches or book selections, suggest reducing the volume while attempting to maintain the pace of the text. If fluency breaks down, increase the volume again to renew the choral reading effect. If the client can become adept at this, suggest inviting another person to listen as a step in desensitization.
It is not only clients who stutter who can benefit from choral reading. "Oral Reading for Language in Aphasia (ORLA) involves repeatedly reading aloud sentences and paragraphs, first in unison with the clinician, and then independently" (Cherney, Babbitt, Oldani, & Semik, 2005); study results indicated that persons "with severe aphasia displayed greatest improvements in reading, while subjects with mild–moderate aphasia displayed changes in writing and in discourse production."
An added benefit of choral reading activities for many clients is the potential to learn new vocabulary and improve reading and listening skills. Carrick (2001) reports that research supporting the value of choral reading "is found in several reading theories and educational paradigms, including Dowhower (1987), Rosenblatt (1978), Samuels (1979), and Schreiber (1980)."
Finally, choral reading also can be beneficial for clients to practice appropriate pace, pausing, pronunciation, and prosody. There are many excellent choral reading resources available online.
For Adults and Adolescents
Online poetry is a good place to begin practicing choral reading, as poetry offers additional prosodic cues that may be helpful.
LoudLit provides "literature for your eyes and ears." The site includes text and clearly articulated audio of novels, poetry, children's stories, and short stories. The text is from the Gutenberg Library, another resource to explore for audio books.
ESL BITS has full-length audio and text books, including works by Agatha Christie, Neville Shute, Kurt Vonnegut Jr., and L. Frank Baum. Readers can choose a fast or slower rate of reading.
Breaking News English has short, current news articles in text with accompanying MP3 audio in British English. Designed for second language learners, it has an excellent pace for choral reading.
Intended for individuals who are learning English, following provide a good pace with excellent articulation—excellent material for anyone practicing choral reading:
Johnnie's Story Page has links to materials from beginner to older readers (not all have audio).
The following are excellent sites, although read by a narrator with a British accent and an occasional slight difference between the text and audio.
- Storynory includes fairy tales, educational stories and classics plus shorter stories and nursery rhymes (linked under "junior").
- Fairy Tale Land has eight familiar stories.
- Online Audio Stories (and poems) have a nice pace and prosody.
My Young Child's "Building Values Through Online Stories" has several illustrated and narrated stories with text.
Offerings on PBS Stories have good prosody with spoken words highlighted in the text, but not all the audio is represented in text.
Speakaboos' Stories and Nursery Rhymes are wonderful.
Highlights' Story Player has illustrated stories (choose "READ it" and then "story player" or "poetry player").
Six free eBooks for Kids from Mee Genius! are clearly narrated at a good pace.
Frank Asch reads five of his animated books.
Story Time For Me has three different series of books from which to choose.
Mighty Book Story Books has eight free books, including Stuttering Stan Takes a Stand.
The Tumble Book Library (available at schools and public libraries that subscribe) offers many excellent resources in the "read along" section.
Signed Stories offers illustrated stories accompanied by text, sign, and audio.
Childtopia has several short stories in English, Spanish, French, and other languages. Choose "The Classics Tales" and "Listen and Reading Comprehension."
Illustrator Eric Carle reads Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? Find additional narrated books online at Reading Is Fundamental.
Hear the classic "The Brementown Musicians."
A bit more challenging, but a different choral reading opportunity is to find online audio recordings of actual speeches accompanied by the text, including Patrick Henry's "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death"; Lincoln's Gettysburg address read by actor Sam Waterston; and George VI's broadcast "to his people in Britain, and throughout the Empire, immediately after Britain's Declaration of War against Germany on September 3, 1939."
American Rhetoric is a repository of both the audio (in mp3) and written transcript (in PDF) of the "top 100 speeches." Some are real, historical speeches, others are examples from films. These four provide especially good prosody and pace:
Just Free Books or your favorite search engine can help locate additional text and audio recordings on various sites. Or make your own text/audio materials for choral reading.There are many websites featuring full text poetry, jump rope rhymes, or short stories. Record them yourself or with your client (for a Mac or Windows).